Pizza (New York)
Pizza (New England)
Since we're talking the greater New England region here, not just Boston, the Pats get serious points for the New Haven greats like Sally's Apizza, Frank Pepe's, Modern, Bar, Zuppardi's. There are the grilled pizza innovators of Rhode Island at Al Forno, not to mention newcomer When Pig's Fly up in Kittery, ME.
I'm not a fan of the Greek-style pan pizza that's prevalent in and around coastal New England, but if you're a fan, there's no better place than George's on the Cape.
Burgers (New York)
Let's start with non-cheffy "regular" burgers. Big surprise, we love our Shake Shack (I ask for mine rare, and more often than not, that's how it comes). We've recently been digging the burgers from FoodParc, too. Then you have the fancypants burgers like Minetta Tavern and Prime Meats, which offer the deeply satisfying pleasure only burgers made with prime dry-aged can bring. I recently discovered another one: a phenomenal burger at Roberta's in Bushwick for $12, definitely the best value for a fancierpants burger in NYC.
Hot Dogs (New York)
You can find a hot dog on just about every street corner. Gray's Papaya is one of the very best street dogs, with its great natural casing, all-beef dogs. Papaya King offers virtually the same dog; just watch out for all the Papaya impostors. We can't forget the original Nathan's dog on Coney Island. If you want fancier, fussier toppings, head over to Crif Dogs, a hotspot for late-night wasted eats. They cover the dogs in a mess of cole slaw, bacon, chili, cheese, jalapenos and avocados. Over in Brooklyn, Bark is making a $7 organic, gourmet dogs that reinvent the American classics with the best ingredients.
Hot Dogs (New England)
Connecticut has quite the hot dog culture. One of the most well-known stands, located right off 95, is Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield. The "New Englander" dog is a riff on nearby Rawley's Drive-In's legendary house dog: a split and grilled natural casing Hummel hot dog, covered in sauerkraut, homemade relish, bacon, and freshly cut onions. Over in Portland, Connecticut, Top Dog Hot Dog wins for most unique-looking: it's a crazy hot-dog-shaped Airstream trailer that parks along Route 66. Speed's massive simmered-in-vinegar-then-grilled dogs slathered in homemade chili and relish are a rite of passage for any Bostonian, and I've had some fine dogs from Hewtin's Mobile Hot Dog Truck in Providence.
Sandwiches (New York)
Think about New York sandwiches and it's only a couple seconds before you're picturing the pastrami sandwich at Katz's, so iconic and so seriously delicious. Ben's Best Delicatessen in Queens is another old-school favorite. As for the new wave of sandwiches, there's the meatball parm from Parm or the sit-down experience of the and house-cured ham and cheese sandwich from Gramercy Tavern's lunch menu, and so many more. You already know how much we love our sandwiches.
Ice Cream (New York)
Much of the great ice cream in New York these days can be found in Brooklyn. One of our favorites is Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights, which is actually making two limited-time Super Bowl flavors. The "Patriots" is vanilla custard and chocolate ganache cake swirled into vanilla ice cream; the "Giants: is an apple blueberry crumble with a fruit crisp made of oatmeal topping, brown sugar and cinnamon, broken up and mixed into sweet cream ice cream. You gotta love a good ice creamery that also appreciates football, right? As for pastry-cheffy gelato, Meredith Kurtzman's insanely delicious olive oil gelato at Otto is one of my favorite bites of dessert in the entire city.
Ice Cream (New England)
New England is serious, serious ice cream territory. In Boston alone you've got Toscanini's and Christina's in Cambridge as well as multiple J.P. Licks locations. Then there's the venerable Herrell's in Northampton (started by Steve Herrell, who ironically now has a NY-based chain spinoff named after him). There are loads of road-side ice cream shacks all over New England that have been around for generations, like Four Seas on the Cape.
Breakfast (New York)
Breakfast means something different to everyone. In New York, it can be mac and cheese pancakes at Shopsin's, the breakfast sandwich at Maialino (fried eggs with roast pork on ciabatta; pictured), pancakes from the Eggs Travaganza cart in Midtown, the excellently crisp and un-soggy french toast from Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens, or a flaky croissant from Epicerie Boulud near Lincoln Center. These are all very fine reasons to get out of bed.
Bakeries (New York)
The staggeringly good Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho is the French pastry shop I've always wanted in my neighborhood (and conveniently, it's a quick stroll from SEHQ). We've tried pretty much everything on the menu; you can't leave without the kouign amman (pictured), an indulgent, insanely buttery, caramelized disk of deliciousness. If you're feeling doughnuts, the exciting options (like tres leches, carrot cake, and the blackout for chocaholics) at Doughnut Plant are some of our favorites. Wall's Bake Shop in Hewlett, Long Island, is a fantastic old-school bakery if you're craving rugelach.
Bakeries (New England)
We know that New England is doughnut country (even Dunkin' Donuts got its start there). Given all the apple orchards, you can find the country's best cider doughnuts, made from a fresh batch of cider, still hot and crisp. There's Fleming's Donut Shack in Easthampton where capegoers line up for their light and tender sour cream flavored rings—that's when they're not lining up for perfectly flaky, buttery croissants at newcomer PB Boulangerie in nearby Wellfleet. Another delicious aroma emanates from the ovens at Flour Bakery and Clear Flour (in the Boston area) where trays of sticky buns and morning buns are waiting to come out.
Soup (New York)
Don't you kind of love that we created a soup category? We could make this even more specific, just clam chowder. But that doesn't seem entirely fair. How many people in Manhattan actually eat Manhattan clam chowder? How about we look to matzo ball soup instead? You can find the Jewish penicillin at anonymous corner diners but a much better version is waiting for you at Blue Ribbon Bakery. More on that in my New York Times piece from 2006.